10/02/14 – NY & NJ Announce Sandy Fish Grant Process

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This week, both New York and New Jersey have begun a process for distributing grant funding to fishing-related businesses affected by Superstorm Sandy.  Funding has been provided by the by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of a federal fishery disaster declaration for states impacted by Sandy.

In New Jersey, commissioner Bob Martin of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that more than $2 million in grants were being made available to certain fishing-related businesses including owners of bait-and-tackle shops, commercial dealers, commercial fisherman, for-hire party and charter boat operators, marinas and those involved in shell-fishing and aquaculture who may apply to the DEP for grants of up to $10,000 each to help offset some of the costs of the storm on their operations.

Click here to download full DEP release.

New Jersey applicants must document a minimum of $5,000 in losses as the result of Sandy. Examples of losses eligible for reimbursement include lost or damaged fishing gear; lost, damaged or ruined product; replacement and/or repair of other equipment; replacement and repair of infrastructure; and revenue lost in the months immediately after Sandy hit.  Grants will be made for losses for which there remains an unmet need for repair or replacement. Activities already undertaken out-of-pocket as part of a business’ or individual’s recovery effort may also be eligible.

Expression of Interest pre-applications are being accepted now until October 31, from individuals and/or businesses in six fishing-related sectors: bait and tackle shops, commercial dealers, commercial fishermen, for-hire (party and charter) operations, marinas and shellfish/aquaculture.

The Expression of Interest pre-application is only available on-line and can be accessed beginning Oct. 1 from the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Fishery Disaster webpage at www.njfishandwildlife.com/fisheriesdisasteraid.htm.

Once an Expression of Interest pre-application is submitted, a team of independent grant administrators will determine an applicant’s eligibility. If eligibility is determined, a separate e-mail will be sent to the applicant requesting additional materials/documentation in order to complete a full application.

There are also grant administrators available to help; for Bait and Tackle and Marinas, the number is 609-292-9942; or for Bait and Tackle and For-Hire, call 609-984-0232.   All grant administrators may also be reached by email at: FisheriesDisasterAid@dep.nj.gov.

In New York, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that by June 30, 2016, $1,973,257 of the federal Disaster Relief Appropriations Act funds will be distributed to members of the New York coastal fishing community who suffered losses from Superstorm Sandy, through a direct-assistance program.

According to DEC, NOAA has granted New York’s Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) $2,352,643 to design and implement a direct-assistance grant program to help members of the coastal fishing industry recover losses that were a direct result of Superstorm Sandy .  The program will target individuals and businesses of the recreational and commercial fishing industries who have uninsured losses and disaster-related recovery expenses that cannot be reimbursed via other state and federal relief programs.

With the assistance of DEC and Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), GOSR will inform potential program applicants about all GOSR relief programs and help them to submit applications to the most appropriate program to meet their assistance needs.  Currently, GOSR, DEC, and the SBDCs are gathering information from industry members in order to effectively finalize the program’s application criteria. The announcement of the finalized program and application process will begin in the coming months.

While $1,973,257 will not be enough to completely reimburse all losses, New York’s award from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act will help target some of the unmet needs from the current programs.

Click here to download the DEC’s Superstorm Sandy Fishery Disaster Fisheries Grant Summary Sheet. Visit the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov.